The new AirPods Pro 2 look and work much the same as the old ones, with the new wired charging solution being the biggest improvement to the product. It's a change that had been on the cards since the EU warned companies to use a common charger for headphones and earbuds — the same reason Apple has switched its iPhones to USB-C, too.
But it turns out that while Apple has previously sold AirPods charging cases separately, that doesn't appear to be the situation this time around.
New AirPods Pro or bust
Owners of AirPods Pro 2 that shipped with a case with a Lightning connector can't buy a new USB-C replacement from the Apple Store. It isn't yet clear whether that will change in the future, however.
The result? Anyone who wants to upgrade to a USB-C charging case will have to spend $249 to get their hands on an entirely new set that includes a new pair of earbuds.
USB-C isn't the only change the case has to offer, either. Apple's press release says that the new case also features improved IP54 dust resistance, but that probably won't convince anyone to upgrade.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.